Well, it's gonna be a rough ride this year. Some of us will have to fight hard just to get less work than usual. Others will have to fight harder. But I am just back from the trenches and I want to give you boy some hope! Stick to your guns, soldiers! Don't let the rumors of bad economy make you so edgy you just start taking jobs out of desperation. Don't let cheapo customers talk you down. I got two first-hand stories right from the front lines of battle I want to share with you soldiers. Might inspire a few of you new recruits to stand your ground when the enemy comes calling.... First Story; I gave two hardscape bids last week. One was about $6,000 and the guy almost freaked out. He said, "What? $6,0000??? That seems really high to me." I started to justify the price and he interrupted with, "What I mean is, I already got a bid from another outfit to do the same job for $2,400." That's when MY jaw dropped. "$2,400?!?", I said. "Heck, just the materials for that job are $1800! And it's a 4 day job for us! I don't see how there's any way someone could do it for..." And he interrupted me again. He replied, "I don't see how either. And I was thinking of doing it myself. But for that cheap, we decided to just hire out for it. Anyway, thanks for your time, but we'll be using that other company - goodbye." and he closed the door in my face. Now I've been around the block, boys. This isn't this soldier's first battle. But I gotta admit, my morale was a little deflated that day. I couldn't believe I got undercut by THAT much! What was the world coming to? If guys are bidding jobs THAT low, how would I ever land jobs this year? Well, right about the time I was feeling sorry for myself, I got a call from a bid we had done a few days before. Only a $5,000 job. But he was ready to go! Got 2 bids and liked mine better for some reason. I am not sure I was the cheapest but he liked our bid a lot and we landed a job - without him trying to beat me up on price or anything. He was ready to go!!! We're doing the job right now. Be finished tomorrow or Wednesday. Second Story; I gave two fairly good sized bids so far this week. One was for $13,200 and another for $18,000. Both hardscape/landscape jobs. And understand this -- we could REALLY use some more work right now, like most companies. The first guy wrote back today and said he liked our company the best. Liked what I had to say. Liked our warranty. Everything. He'd be willing to sign a contract and get started right away - if I could only come down to $11,000. Well, dang! Materials I pretty much quoted at just above cost. So no wiggle room there. And labor was only $7,300 of the bid. So that means he is asking me to take about $2K off my labor price! That means I'd have to make 30% less on labor for this job! You gotta be kidding me! We'd be better off just not taking the job. So I found a polite way to tell him no, I couldn't do it. But assured him we'd be the best in terms of quality, reliability, etc. and he should still consider us anyway. I had a guaranteed $11K job - and I turned it down I had to decline the offer. As much as I needed a $11,000 job right now, and as much as that would help our monthly cash-flow situation, I had to decline. It was tough. I could have gone over today and signed a contract and had 5,500 bucks in my hand! That tore me apart to say no! I guaran-damm-ty ya most of the other soldiers within a few clicks of my position would have taken him up on that there offer. But I was not going to lose money on a job just for cash-flow sake. But as luck would have it, there was another bid I gave this week. The $18,000 job. And what do you know? They didn't even want to get any other bids. They liked our design. They liked our concept. They liked the website and our conversations and just today they decided to go ahead with their project right on the spot - no haggling at all. Just "Great. How much do we make the check out for and when can you start?" So have patience boys! Stick to your guns! Don't let those cheapos run you out of business by forcing you to lower your price when you know you shouldn't! We can still get jobs this year and still get profitable jobs too! Just keep giving bids. More marketing. Get your name out there. Give more and more bids. The good ones will rise to the top! Now battle on, troops!